When Tim Tebow ran onto the field at LSU's Tiger Stadium on Saturday night, nobody was more thrilled than his teammates.
"It was a great lift," OL Carl Johnson said. "It's Tim Tebow, who doesn't love a quarterback like that?"
Although Tebow and coach Urban Meyer decided Thursday that if he was medically cleared, he would play, Johnson said Tebow's teammates were not sure until game time.
"(John) Brantley was taking almost all the snaps the last two weeks," he said. "I wanted him to play, but at the same time I wanted him to be healthy. So we were prepared for Brantley and for Tebow."
Tebow said when he suffered the concussion Sept. 26, he never envisioned it would turn into a two-week saga that was followed daily by the national media.
"Honestly, when it happened, when I was in the hospital that night and started feeling better I thought, 'Yeah, I'll be okay. I may have to sit out a few practices, but I'll be back,' " he said. "Then it just drug on a little longer, and I didn't know how to deal with that situation, too. I had never been in it. I just tried to listen to the doctors and take it day by day and get better. But once I went through these tests I thought, 'I'll be good to play.' Some of the tests you do are just as hard as the games."
RELYING ON DEFENSE: LSU was held to 162 total yards, 96 passing, and Meyer said defense was the key to the victory: "I think that's what we are right now. I'm an offensive coach, and you know this is not the first rodeo, this is not the first year that the defense keeps you in games. Really, it's the name of the game."
Florida is No. 1 in Division I-A in pass efficiency defense (78.32), total defense (202.6), scoring defense (6.40) and pass defense (115.20).
"We've got plenty of playmakers and everybody knows their assignments,'' senior LB Ryan Stamper said. ''The coaches are comfortable with us. We feel like we've been here before; we're used to the big games. We've been playing big games for a long time here at Florida, so we're very comfortable with that."
GATORS STAY, TIDE JUMPS: Florida maintained its No. 1 ranking in the Associated Press Top 25 media poll, with an SEC foe right on its heels. Alabama (6-0) knocked unbeaten Texas, which struggled early against Colorado (1-5), out of the No. 2 spot for the first time this season. The Tide, which beat then-No. 20 Mississippi, picked up 10 first-place votes, up from five last week.
Antonya English can be reached at email@example.com or (813) 226-3389.